Voila! It’s a new week already, and the last one in July; how time flies! I believe by now, I may be free to assume that you are enjoying bliss in your home already. That is my mission and I will go any length to bring solutions your way to help you make that a reality. But I must mention here that knowledge is only powerful when it is backed with action. It is commonly said that no one cares how much you know (passive knowledge), until they know how much you care (active knowledge). And one way you demonstrate that you truly care is in creating a right environment for your family, spouse especially.
I have dedicated the month of July to discussing How to Experience a Comeback after a Breakdown. In previous episodes, I shared on what breakdown is (disruption of the normal functioning of a machine or person), and the common causes. One of the causes I listed earlier was “Improper Weather-related Use”, and that will be my focus for today.
Everything there is (living or non-living) has a right environment or condition where they can function maximally. Phones are better kept away from liquid and extreme temperatures. Most drugs are better stored in room temperature, while some in refrigerators. Fish is designed to live in water, each species to certain light exposure and salt concentration levels, below or above which they cannot survive. Worms thrive in moist environments, where they burrow into the soil and make it ready for planting. The list is endless. Also, as a family, your spouse has the right environment or conditions where she/he can maximize her/his potentials. In trying to drive this point home, a wise king once said, “Better to live alone in a tumbledown shack than share a mansion with a nagging spouse.” It is not about the location, it is about the condition – the environment.
So, the question then is, how can you create a right environment for your spouse? The following tips will help:
One, become aware of your own shortcomings and strengths: Of course, true change begins with you. (And that is not a cliché.) You cannot attempt to make life better for another when you are not even aware of your own shortcomings. Have you found out there are times you do something out of good intentions but your spouse misinterprets your actions and gives negative reactions towards it? What happens at such times may be that your attitude betrays your action, and you may not even know it. One way you can become more aware of yourself is by taking note of what people around you detest or appreciate about you; and you can ask them if need be. Do you get some checks in your conscience when you carry out some actions towards your spouse but do it all the same? Try and be sincere with yourself as much as possible.
A second point is Seek first to be a blessing, before seeking to be blessed. The world is about giving and taking – and such is life. When it is skewed to one side, it can be detrimental to the relationship. But what I have found out is that the person out to give usually has an advantage over one out to take. The giver gains more prominence and authority over the taker. If you are in the marriage to “add” to your spouse, that alone will give you even more creative ways to bring out the best in him/her. Hence, you will be creating a right environment for your spouse to thrive without you even realizing it or forcing it to happen.
The last point I like to share today, which I got from Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, is Seek first to understand, before seeking to be understood. Much of the struggles we have in human relationships exist because someone is always trying to be right. Learn to see issues from your spouse’s perspectives: this does not mean that you will always give in and let them “win” as it were. It just means rapport is better strengthened when you understand the “why” behind your spouse’s actions. With that knowledge, you can help expand his perspective to see other reasons or better ways something can be done. With this expanded awareness, he can bend to your own view without feeling a sense of “loss”. If you make this a practice, it gets easier with time, and the two of you can flow like the best friends you were meant to be.
Caveat: I understand quite well that this may not work in all situations, giving the other factors that I have shared in previous episodes. Some folks can be really difficult to relate with, giving the kind of background they had. Also, when it seems you are the only one interested in making the marriage work, this can be really frustrating. In such cases, please see a family therapist who will work out a unique solution for you and your spouse.
Till we meet again next week, keep enjoying the best of moments in your marriage.
I value you.
Dele Ayo Bankole
He is an Associate Family Systems Engineering (FSE) Practitioner, a family and behavioral change therapist. He is the Principal Family Strategist at the High-Impact Family Centre. He helps to design unique strategies for wholesome family and organizational experience. He can be reached on Phone/WhatsApp (08064980357) and Email, highimpactfamilycentre@gmail. com. If you have any comments, feedback, questions, or suggestions, he will love to hear from you.
“Together, we can make an emotionally healthy Africa possible!”